As the National Football League prepares for its final game of the season this Sunday with the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz., year-end lobbying disclosures reveal that the NFL spent over $1.3 million on federal lobbying in 2022.
The NFL’s federal lobbying expenditures are a slight increase from its $1.2 million in 2021 spending, according to an OpenSecrets’ analysis of year-end lobbying disclosures.
While the 2022 lobbying spending didn’t reach the league’s high of $1.6 million in 2018, the NFL led the recreation and live entertainment industry in terms of federal lobbying spending last year. Major League Baseball followed close behind, spending over $1.2 million.
A majority of the NFL’s lobbyists went through the “revolving door” with 22 out of 29 NFL lobbyists in 2022 having previously held jobs in the government.
Not only is the NFL active in the lobbying space, the league also donated $402,000 to federal candidates through its PAC in 2022. This included $10,000 each to Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). Additionally, the PAC contributed $10,000 each to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
The Washington lobbying team
Notably, the only NFL team with significant federal lobbying spending in 2022 was the Washington Commanders, which spent $580,000. Among other issues, lobbyists for the Washington Commanders lobbied on “issues related to Oversight and Reform Committee investigation of workplace culture.”
The House Commitee on Oversight and Reform launched an investigation on the workplace culture of the Washington Commanders following a New York Times article in 2018 on sexual harassment of Commanders cheerlanders and an internal NFL review by independent counsel of the team, which resulted in a $10 million fine.
The committee report found that Washington Commanders team owner Dan Synder “established a culture of fear” and intimidated witnesses from cooperating with investigators.
However, Synder and his wife and co-CEO of the Commanders, Tanya Snyder announced they may part ways with the NFL with a potential sale of Commanders. Billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is interested in buying the team, according to a CNN report.